Relationship Non-Negotiables

September 22, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I created a list of things I will not tolerate in relationships:

  • physical abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • alcohol addiction
  • drug addiction
  • sex addiction (it’s not as fun as it sounds)
  • dishonesty
  • duplicity (this is kind of like dishonesty, but more specifically about people’s words not aligning with their actions/behavior)

I had three quarters of a page dedicated to things I did and didn’t like about Dave…and less than half of the remaining space was taken up by the non-negotiables (above). 

It was striking to see this short list on paper. 

It became apparent to me that my basic expectations are set too low.  That’s why I wrote about my son’s father; I wanted to provide some back-story to explain where I’m coming from.  Since his father, my longest-term relationship was with a sociopath (of course, I didn’t realize that until after the fact).  What can I say?  I have really bad taste in men? 

Yes, I have bad taste in men…and I think it also goes back to the Theory of Mind thing.  I get stuck in empathizing mode.  I am fascinated by other people’s points of view.  This can be a valuable skill at times, but in relationships it can lead to trouble.  I become so engrossed in learning about the other person, I lose track of my own perspective.

Men Have Radar That Detects When a Girl is Ready to Move On

September 21, 2008

I had scheduled my “relationship post-mortem” for today, now that I’ve had some distance from Dave.  I went ahead and posted it a little while ago.

We last spoke 11 days ago and I never thought I would hear from him again.  Naturally, on the day that I plan to officially put closure on the relationship, he calls.  This reminds me of something Little Miss Obsessive wrote recently:

Sometimes, I feel like guys have this radar that detects when a girl is ready to move on.  It’s almost like they can hear you thinking “I’m done” and they know they need to step up or they will lose you…

For as socially inept as men can be sometimes, they have a knack for timing.  I’m going to try to make this post quick, because I’m hoping to catch the Neanderthal Code tonight on the National Geographic Channel.  I have a strong suspicion the show will help me understand what went wrong with Dave.  I had said he was not a meathead, but I think I may have been mistaken.

I need to vent for a moment…

The message he left said that he hadn’t called me because he was giving me space/time (if you’re going to blow me off, don’t tell me you did it for my own good – this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this crock of sh!t) since the last time we spoke I was in a “dark place.”  Huh?  Last time we talked, I said I was feeling apathetic about being social (really, I was just apathetic about talking to him, but was trying to be polite).  He immediately interpreted my apathy as a sign of depression.  I assured him this was not the case, that I feel apathetic from time to time and for me that is NOT the same thing as feeling depressed.

But, per his usual behavior, he assumed I was in a dark place and didn’t listen to me when I said I wasn’t in a dark place and proceeds to call me 11 days later to check on me to see how I’m doing since I was in a dark place last time we talked.  WTF?

Hey Dave, thanks for the concern 1.5 weeks later, dumb@ss!  Your support over the last 11 days (not calling me, but chatting with chics on has been priceless. 

A Dating Post-Mortem Dedicated to Dave

September 21, 2008

If I go out with someone more than, lets say, three times, I like to reflect on what happened.  I’ll be damned if I keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, even though that’s what it always seems to feel like.  I want to know if I missed something obvious, something I should pay more attention to in the future.  My time is precious and I don’t want to waste any more of it than necessary during the dating process.

What did I like about him?

He was moderately successful (I usually date losers, or should I say Losers with a capital “l”?!!).

He didn’t appear to be an alcoholic (bonus points for that!).

He was funny.

Last, but not least, we shared intellectual interests.  We could talk about politics, feminism, racism, and psychology.  That’s something I have not had in the past that I wanted to experience. 

What did I dislike about him?

His narcissism.  Originally, I thought this was a joke, but it turned out to be his major, encompassing flaw.  From the beginning, he made his expectations and preferences clear.  I happily accommodated him in the spirit of compromise.  My expectations and preferences were fewer and far between, and he basically ignored them.  There was the day I wanted to go to the cafe and then more seriously, there was the issue with the condoms.  I expressed to him how uncomfortable I was with not using condoms.  Granted, it takes two people to make a bad decision, but I want to be with someone who takes my preferences as seriously as I take theirs.

Post-mortem Results/Rules to Remember in the Future:

1) In the future, always use condoms…or don’t have sex.  2) Raise your expectations (they are too low)!

Regaining my Balance After the Most Recent Ride on the Dating Roller Coaster

September 16, 2008

Yesterday I was feeling pretty crappy.  I rode my bike home from work, which takes almost an hour.  I still felt down during the whole bike ride, but decided to embrace it and allow myself to feel it without giving into anxiety and worrying if this would turn into my worst fear…being depressed.

Although I didn’t feel even the remotest enthusiasm for life on my way home, by the time I went to bed last night I realized I was feeling good…really good.  What a relief.  I am sure getting exercise helps.  I fell off the exercise wagon for the most part when I was seeing Dave.  I think that’s why we sometimes take “breakups” hard, even if we’ve only been dating the person for a brief time.

In addition to whatever hormonal (adrenaline, sexual attraction) roller coaster you’ve just gotten off of, you return to a neglected state of being.  It’s a double whammy.  You’re feeling bummed and sorry for yourself or whatever and you find that your house is messier and you’re more out of shape than when you got on the roller coaster.

After three consecutive weeks of being lazy, I rode my bike to work 4 days last week.  Today is Tuesday and I’m on day 2 of biking to work this week.  While I’m focusing on settling back into a healthy routine, I plan to post a series of posts about my ex-husband, Mark.  He is also the father of my son.

Buh-Buy, Dave…Wish Things Had Ended on a Better Note

September 15, 2008

Towards the end of August, I let my membership expire.  I knew from past experience that dating is time consuming, so my approach was to do a one month membership, see what happened, let it expire, take a break, and try again.

Just before it expired, I met Dave, who was the by far the most promising prospect of the month.  We hit it off, had a brief honeymoon period, and then things quickly fizzled out…because of the sex.  Neither of our libidos were cooperating consistently enough to reach true honeymoon status.  Whatever feelings had begun to blossom began to fade away so slowly, I barely noticed until I realized they were gone.  I didn’t even have to finish the list I started to realize it was over.

We only spoke once last week.  I knew he had plans to visit family for a long weekend this past weekend.  We said we would talk on Friday, but neither of us called the other.  Clearly, whatever attentiveness he once had was gone.  The honeymoon had ended before it had started.  A few minutes ago, out of curiosity, I did a search on the web site of men in his age range in our zip code (without logging in).  Sure enough, a few pages in, his profile shows up.  I was curious to see how long it’s been since the last time he logged in.

It says “online now!”.

That kind of hurts.  Not that we had yet reached the point of exclusivity, but this feels crappy.  I am already disgusted with myself for putting my own health at risk to accommodate his “erectile dysfunction.”  And I am in the middle of switching meds to address my own libido issues, which are no longer seeming too relevant.  I’m kind of pissed, but I know I can’t fall into that “poor me” trap.  For all I know, he gave into curiosity and has been reading my blog…and is trying to nurse his wounded ego back to health. 

After all, there are two sides to every story (well, three if you count the truth).

Irritability, Stupidity, and a List of Complaints

September 14, 2008

At first I couldn’t decide what to write about and now I’m on a roll.  I ended my last post noticing the growing list of things I’ve done to accommodate Dave.  These were all things I chose to do, so I have no one to blame but myself.  I’m also hesitant to judge his efforts  (or anyone else’s for that matter) because people give, express interest, and accommodate in different ways.

I just realized I didn’t spell check my last post.  Sorry.  I’m also feeling a tad bit premenstrual, so I’m feeling a little bitchier than usual.  But if that’s what it takes for me to find the right to complain, then so be it.

How has Dave been inflexible, selfish, or failed to express interest where appropriate?

He has a problem with “cafeteria feminism,” so he prefers to split things 50/50.  I’m a “full circle feminist” (I’ll define that another time), so I think the man should pay most of the time.  On our first date, he paid for our drinks, then proceeded to ask me if it was okay if we split the check.  I said it was fine and we split the check.  Since then we’ve pretty much split everything, but he’s paid for things a few times, too.  And he’s bought me a few gifts.  I’m willing to let this whole thing slide, but DO NOTE that I shaved my legs and painted my toenails for him.  What’s the opposite of cafeteria feminism?  Cafeteria androcentrism?

The oral sex hasn’t exactly been equitable…I’m definitely getting the less generous end of that deal.

I’m embarrassed to even say this, even though my name (Cindy Thomas) is a pseudonym…during our few sexual encounters, we have not used condoms.  He can barely get it up without a condom on, let alone with a condom on.  Even though our encounters have been brief and haven’t exactly culminated in fireworks, this is just plain STUPID.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Kind of like the cafe incident, I immediately told him how much that stressed me out…and that we’d have to figure something out…but it happened a few times after that.

I can’t believe how hard it is to admit to asinine behavior.

Moving on, I’ve been struggling with his lack of interest in reading my blog.  He knows there’s three parts to it…it’s not JUST about dating, but he doesn’t want to read my blog.  He says it’s about respecting my privacy, so it fair to interpret his behavior as a lack of interest?  I just can’t comprehend not having a burning desire to read someones blog or journal.

Hairy Legs, Smelly Feet, and Toenail Polish

September 14, 2008

I like to spice things up on my blog(s) now and again.  Once I’ve written a few serious posts, I like to throw in some fluff.

I dated a guy several years ago named (Gosh, am I running out of fake names already?)…Moe.  Don’t ask me where I come up with these names, they just pop in my head.  He’s the last person since Dave that I dated enough times to lose track of how many times we went out.  Things were going along fine with Moe. 

Holy crapola.  I just remembered something really trippy.  I made this connection when I first started going out with Dave, but then I forgot about it.  Now it just seems really bizarre.  Let me tell you about Moe first.

I’ll skip over the details and get to the heart of the matter.  The reason I broke up with Moe was because he had a hard time “getting it up.”  Apparently he was on some kind of medication (gosh, this sounds familiar!).  I could have perhaps cut him some slack, since he was ultimately able to get it up.  The problem was that he had fetishes that he needed to “utilize”…to get it up.  He had two fetishes: hairy legs and smelly feet.

I have hairy legs.  I’m a feminist.  I hate shaving.  If waxing wasn’t so expensive, I’d do it regularly.  I shave about once a week or so in the summer to keep things from getting too out of hand, but I rarely shave in the winter time, except to weed wack my legs every few months for maintenance purposes.

Most guys I date don’t mind the hairy legs.  But the fact that Moe loved hairy legs seemed kind of inappropriate.  And smelly feet?  I just don’t have smelly feet.  I never have.  None of my shoes smell, even my old athletic shoes.  I guess it’s my body chemistry or my diet or something. 

Moe looked at online porn, too.  I’m not really into porn.  I guess it would be one thing if you watched porn and then were ready to properly (and of course, consensually) ravish me.  But if you watch porn, need my legs to be hairy, and have to put my toes up to your nose and inhale deeply to get hard, then that’s just over the top.

Dave, on the other hand, has a “strong preference” for shaved legs, which I find somewhat inconvenient.  He expects me to shave my legs.  I’m a busy woman.  I have better things to do than shave my freaking legs (which is probably somehwere close to half of the surface area of my ENTIRE body) every other day.  He also says painted toenails is a “turn on.”  The moment he told me that is when a red flag went up…I asked him if it was a fetish and he insisted it wasn’t.  But silly me, I painted my toenails.

I’m noticing a continuing theme here with Dave…a growing list of small things I’ve done to accomodate him…and although he’s definitely done some nice things for me, I can’t help but notice the imbalance.